The FIA met with the teams and the commercial rights holder (Bernie Ecclestone) this week to discuss the future of the sport. The Concorde Agreement is the cement that keeps all the players involved signing from the same hymnal and there were a few remaining issues according to Mercedes boss Ross Brawn. It seems the distance between a completed aagreement is actually between the FIA and Ecclestone at this point as Brawn told reporters:
“From the teams’ perspective there is nothing holding it up,” Brawn said.
“It is between the commercial rights holder and the FIA – and that is where they have to sort out their detail and iron out any difficulties.
“It didn’t look there were any major problems. I would imagine it being a very short time.”
The teams are one element, albeit a major one, in the triumvirate that is the sport of formula One. There is no doubt in my mind that the FIA, headed by former Ferrari boss Jean Todt, is playing a cunning and strong card in this high-stakes game of poker. The resistance to it is logical from Ecclestone’s position as he’s a keen poker player himself. The FIA has made no bones about their desire for more revenue from the series and the increased entry fees to be paid by the teams is certainly one component of that. The additional requests have not been publicly revealed.
Another interesting twist is that Mercedes AMG’s Niki Lauda was at the meeting as well and some (according to AUTOSPORT) were wondering what his presence was as he is a non-executive board member of the team. Brawn said it was logical for Lauda to be at the meeting as he was involved in the commercial rights discussions. This, presumably, refers to the talks between Ecclestone and MErcedes about the car maker remaining in the sport and having a seat on the new F1 steering committee. Brawn said:
“Niki had been quite involved with the commercial rights agreement with Bernie, so he came in case any of that got discussed in detail,” said Brawn.
“As it happened it didn’t, so Niki was more of an observer than otherwise. But he was really there because he had been closely involved with the commercial right negotiations.”
I would imagine there wer a few surprised team bosses and others in the meeting with Lauda swaggered in.